Roger Waters delivered a “Wall” at Fenway Park Sunday to rival the Green Monster itself.
Waters’s stadium-size version of the production he first launched two years ago in arenas is a dramatic improvement to the show’s inherent sensory overload.
In aiming for magnitude, Waters masterfully filled the huge space afforded by Fenway, providing exquisite surround-sound and a splash of visuals that stretched across the entire outfield.
“The Wall” at Fenway wasn’t simply big; it lorded over the roughly 26,000 in attendance.
But it wasn’t just the size of “The Wall” that impressed. Since beginning this revival of the last great concept album he wrote with Pink Floyd, Waters has gotten even better at stretching “The Wall’s” original themes of fear and alienation, from personal torment to global oppression.
The first half of the show especially blurred the personal and political, with familiar songs about “Bricks in the Wall” attaching themselves to images of war’s devastation and critiques of all the various forces that pit people against each other.
Waters was at his best turning the dark, brooding “Mother” into an allegory of the “Mommy State” manipulating its kids into mistrustful, shattered souls. He transformed “Big Brother” into “Big Mother.”
Waters also added a new section to “Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two” that addresses the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes by English police who mistook him for a terrorism suspect. It was a provocative commentary on state terror that looked at the issue through an unfamiliar lens.
Waters is still very much the ringleader, but compared with his earlier trip to Boston, there is a more defined line between Roger the creator of the Wall and Roger the tormented character portrayed in the Wall. And his big band is all the sharper at making this Pink Floyd opus feel comfortable in their hands. Singer Robbie Wyckoff shined during his lead turns. Guitarist Dave Kilminster brought a warm, earnest feel to the solo in “Comfortably Numb” originated by David Gilmour.
Much of “The Wall” still retains its original nuance. The portions of the rock opera detailing Waters’s character of Pink sinking deeper into mad loneliness are very much intact and straight echoes from the original heyday of “The Wall” as both celebrated album and trippy rock flick.
Now that Waters has fine-tuned his re-imagining of “The Wall,” it makes sense for him to stretch the telling of this redemption tale to a seeming breaking point. And even with its gargantuan dynamics, the show communicated resonant tensions and releases.
As big as the production was, it never felt like glitz for glitz’s sake. In short, Waters cannot be accused of committing the sins he rails against, even though he is capable of communicating on the same level as the sinners.